Inspired by the hero’s journey narrative developed by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Hack the Tao is a series of transitional games, heavily featuring art.
The game is inspired by the hero’s journey narrative developed by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Hack the Tao is a collection of transitions; a number of representative phases we undergo throughout a life cycle. Each level of the game is inspired by an archetype, creating a dynamic and interactive connection between fiction and reality.
Hackatao’s art combines formal aesthetics with the symbolism of the ancestral self. The land design is also an homage to Jung’s archetypes of the collective unconscious: each level of the game represents a phase in life and is built within sections of a golden spiral.
Hack the Tao is the first art game experience designed by the Italian artist duo, Hackatao, for The Sandbox. As crypto artists, they have a lot of interest in trying new fantastic and surreal ideas to make their art come to life in The Sandbox's Game Maker.
Meet Lady Hack, the game’s hero. As she finds herself in Hack Land, she is presented with a number of challenges to regain her flesh and come back to life. Lady Hack has been reborn from her ashes and should now fight her battles until the world will be reconciled. Her dilemma is: “Can art save the world?” The journey begins with The Age of the Innocent, a world in which everything appears as something from a dream. Don’t be fooled by the candid look of this world, stay focused and collect the Tao you need to pass through the level and continue on your journey. Throughout the game, you will encounter a number of threshold guardians.
“I’ve returned from the abyss to defeat you, Hack! Are you afraid to die?” - Cthulhu
Descend into the abyss of Cthulhu and face your worst dreams. The portal to the next level is guarded by Cthulhu, an ancient God worshipped by his loyal seers cultists. Lady Hack will have to defeat Cthulhu and his cultists to reach the surface. Beware: the real enemy is not always who it seems when you are an orphan.
“I’m cute, I’m sweet and I am more powerful than you think. Do you want to play with me?” - Little Sister
A high tower is standing over the abyss. This is where Little Sister dwells to protect Queeny, the sovereign of the tower. Despite the fairytale-like atmosphere, there is something odd about this place, don’t take anything for granted! Even the cutest character could be tremendously dangerous here. This is the level of the Wanderer and it is where Lady Hack will connect with her inner self as she confronts her alter ego.
“Let's take a killing selfie!” - Death
Lady Hack has grown strong and knows how to defeat her enemies. In the arena, a triumph of Hackatao’s art comes alive, evoking ancestral fears in Lady Hack. Each villain in this level has a peculiar trait which they use as a powerful armour to defeat the hero, either politics, social power, or the art of war. Will Lady Hack be ready to rule the world?
Check out these level previews.
And take a look at some of the art brought to life as ASSETs.
Hack the Tao is developed by a studio called Hackatao.
Hackatao is an Artistic Team founded in 2007 by Sergio Scalet e Nadia Squarci, in order to support their creatures, the Podmork, in their eschatological try to save the World.
Born within the Toys Culture, Hackatao’s art develops into Pervasive Art, expressing itself in paintings, digital art, sculptures, photography, and video art; and aims to experimentation by combining different styles, techniques, and materials. From its birth on, Hackatao has been taking part in several exhibitions and art fairs, becoming one of the newest representatives of Pop Surrealism and New Pop.
Hackatao: comes from the word “hacker” in its original meaning: “a person who faces intellectual challenges in order to avoid or to overcome the limits imposed on every aspect of his life by someone or something, in a creative way”; and the concept of “Tao”, that indicates the Team’s activity, meant as a living Whole in endless becoming.
The creators are a group of Italian creatives and video game lovers who have been working together with much enthusiasm on the design and creation of Hack the Tao. Some of us met on the Italian Sandbox Discord channel and some have met before in real life.
During the first part of the development of the game they decided to take a closer look at Hackatao’s art characters and their personalities. Then they worked on the physicality and animation trying to imagine how they would move and react in the metaverse and in interaction with other characters. This initial process was much fun and dynamic. To see some of the most iconic Hackatao’s artworks taking like in the Sandbox Game was quite an experience!
For the game’s narrative they imagined a parallelism between Hackatao’s art and the Jungian’s theory of the collective unconscious. The crew discovered many synergies between the way in which humans behave and act during their life cycle, as described in the Hero’s Journey, and their own personal life experiences. This connection between the art and themselves really made us working organically as a group. They listened to the art, and this came to life quite naturally in the game.
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